Well, when you buy a car in boxes, $hit is going to happen! For my 1963 FHC restoration (build date Jan. 2nd, 1963, car number 888055), I recently started exploring upholstery options, which led me to take a hard look at the seats that came with my pile of boxes. I am pretty sure they are roadster seats.
So, maybe that makes sense in a world of Jaguar on the fly parts substitutions. Indeed I found at least 2 folks on the UKForum that state that their original FHCs have roadster seats, including one built in the same timeframe as mine. I read Haddock page 92 which states “Some early coupes were fitted with roadster seats”. No car numbers provided. I wouldn’t quantify my car as “early” but one never knows. Now, just to confuse the issue further, Haddock discusses a change in the seat tracks, with the early ones being shorter. He does state this ococured at chassis numbers 850526/7, 860580/1, 877355/6 and 886092/3, about June of 1962. I found 4 seat sliders in a box. I’m not sure on the dimensions of the long ones versus the short ones but I can easily see that the sliders I have are “long” with respect to the “short” hole spacing on the seats I have. Conversely, the hole spacing of the sliders is a dead match for the captive nuts for the seat attachments on my tub. Finally, based on the upholstery on my roadster seats, they have red upholstery with black covers fitted over the red. My car’s upholstery was Tan. So I doubt they came with the original car and they are “early” enough to have been drilled for the “short” sliders. I just checked and it looks like there is room on the seat bottom frame to add an additional captive nut at a spacing to match my “long” sliders.
Option 1) If there is anyone out there that has been looking for some early roadster seat frames in poor but restorable condition and has some FHC seat frames in restorable condition, I would propose a trade. Mike Moore, in 2003, posed just this offer. I suspect old Mike has already made accomodations! And of course I can just start looking in the usual places for the seat frames I need and if I’m successful, I can sell my early roadster seats. I do have time, I’m early in the restoration process.
Option 2) Use the roadster seats. I will probably get pinged occasionally by the originaliity police but I do have a plausible story. Maybe?!
PS#1 I am very sensitive to how the seat bolsters hit my shoulder blades. The seats in my wife’s Porsche Cayman pinch me and start to get to me in a very short bit of driving. After sitting in the roadster seats for all of 15 seconds, it does feel like my shoulder blades sit on the outer padded part, comfortably. As mentioned in one of the many posts I have reviewed, a pillow for the small of my back may be required.
PS#2 I do plan to sell this car when I am done. I would like to restore it to a JCNA Championship level and show it a few times before I move it on. If we ever start having car shows again! Again, not sure if the roadster seats are going to leave me on shaky ground with the judges. I’m a judge. It would probabIy be a problem for me. I really don’t have anything definitive to hang my hat on to prove originality.
PS #3 Quick Ebay Search: Monocouque Metalworks advertises new seat frames like I would need for $1875. Somebody in Dallas is asking $2500 for a set of frames with ratty looking upholstery.
I think I’ve answered my question but comments/suggestions are appreciated